Economic Freedom: Toward a Theory of Measurement
This is the second book in a series of ongoing discussions exploring economic freedom. This book surveys the philosophical roots of economic freedom, examining the writings of John Locke, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard in an attempt to set the conceptual basis for the measurement.
The Freedom House ratings of economic freedom are analyzed. The underlying philosophical scheme is lacking as it contains no firm qualitative or quantitative guidelines on acceptable levels of taxation or regulation.
Participants argue against Freedom House's value-laden beliefs that democracy is the best way to advance economic freedom and that political and civil freedom are the bases for establishing economic freedom - beliefs that defy the real world examples of Sweden, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.
Economic, political, and civil liberties are discussed and there is consensus with Milton Friedman's perspective that civil liberties can be reduced to economic liberties, and that political freedom and stability may derive from civil and economic liberalism.
Measures of economic freedom in all nations are examined: the rights to own and exchange property, the basis of economic freedom; the rule of law and how each country's legal system enhances or infringes economic freedom; taxation systems; public spending; economic regulation of business and labour; monetary policy; and free trade.